Q&A  | 

Mar Masulli: Making waves as a deep tech entrepreneur

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Mar Masulli is the CEO and CoFounder of BitMetrics. With over 20 years experience in the information technology industry and various awards for BitMetrics, Mar continues to defy expectations in information technology. She spoke to us about her experience in the technology industry, her collaboration with The Collider, and the key to a successful company.

You are the CEO & CoFounder of BitMetrics. Can you give us a brief overview of what BitMetrics does, and can you describe your role and day-to-day responsibilities?

BitMetrics is a deep tech startup that specialises in artificial intelligence, machine vision and robotics. We create technology to enable the automation of vision-based processes for manufacturing companies. 

Robotics has been used for decades in what we call a deterministic environment, so all the conditions are set and known. That means if something changes, the robot stops working. What artificial intelligence offers is the possibility for robots to adapt in the moment. 

I do a lot of things on the business side of the company—a mix of HR, finance, marketing and sales. I also work in product creation, where I act as the voice of the client with the technical team. I’ll make demands from them so that we can then take a product or service back to the market. It’s a very interesting role. 

What interests you most about your field of work?

I would say the possibilities that technology offers. In my area of expertise, we automate industrial processes that cut out the need for menial work, meaning human workers can progress professionally. 

When work is repetitive, it can compromise health and safety. Repetitive movements can cause joint problems, and other things that we may not have even thought of yet. So, by engaging with technology we put people at the forefront. It’s really interesting to be part of a push to enhance the ways that workers are engaged in the manufacturing process.

Your startup has been recognised for its success and won several awards. Could you tell us more about these awards?

We have been recognised by IQS Tech Fest, winning the award for Most Promising Industrial Startup in 2020. Last December, we also received the Premis Talent Cambra award from the Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona in recognition of our solution for pick and place processes. 

I think our awards reflect the fact that BitMetric is a disruptive company—we break with the trend that innovation largely takes place outside of Europe. The media exposure that we received from winning awards has earned us more credibility within the market. With renewed visibility, we got to showcase what we do to a wider audience and define the impact we want to have on the sector.

How have your previous roles and experiences helped you get to where you are now?

I started out working in the technology industry at IBM. Because it’s such a large company in information technology,  I got a big-picture perspective of the possibilities in the field. That was very beneficial for my start-up. I already had an understanding of sector expectations and client needs, so I was able to refine my offer accordingly. 

Before I started my current role as BitMetrics CEO and CoFounder, I actually founded two other companies. Having that experience helped me to avoid the mistakes I made previously. The world of entrepreneurship combined with my work in international business advisory roles was definitely a valuable learning curve.

 

What led you to pursue entrepreneurship, and what advice would you offer those wishing to follow a similar path?

I’m not exactly sure what led me to pursue entrepreneurship. Maybe it was when I was working in consultancy—I realised that I was working too hard, and I wanted to make a tangible impact in what I was doing. That was the seed of the first business I started up, which was a ‘green beauty’ business specialising in organic cosmetics. 

Once you become an entrepreneur, it’s not something you can leave. My advice would be to focus on what you’re doing. It’s easy to get distracted by the wealth of opportunities around us, but if you are on top of everything, you’ll deliver the best. Other than that, make sure you choose a business partner that you trust, and who matches your level of commitment.

Could you tell us about what differentiates deeptech from other kinds of business?

Deeptech is different, because developing a product in the technology industry isn’t like developing an app. It can take years in research and development before it reaches the market. Sometimes, as you get closer to the final product, it doesn’t work as you expect—so you have to redo it. Clients may also not share your vision of how technology will develop in the coming years, which means you need to bring your tech offering to a level where they can adopt it. You have to adapt it to the client and create a roadmap for them to keep acquiring more benefits. 

Of course, creating new things carries considerable risk, but it’s also very exciting. It’s a great feeling when you finally launch a product after many stages of development.

How did you first become interested in The Collider, and why is their work in tech transfer important?

There aren’t many women in the deeptech industry, so I attended The Collider’s Women in Tech event. We spoke about what it means to start a company from scratch and compared our experiences. The deeptech industry is a small world, so we cross-over all the time.

The Collider is important because they bring tech to the market in a way that means technology created at universities and research centres can be commercialised. Without them, incredible technological solutions would be staying on the shelves of research institutes. We need to create more intellectual property in Europe; we need to create more value. And I think that’s exactly what The Collider is helping to achieve.

Do you have any specific insights to share regarding tech transfer in Spain?

We need more patient capital. Deeptech doesn’t deliver results in just one year, so we need private investment. The public sector enables start-ups to drive innovation, but that isn’t enough. There is a sense of urgency in that we need to catch up with market leaders: those who do the same things in the industry, but make significantly more money. The challenge would be securing private investment that is less risk averse.

What’s a quote that you live or work by?

There are two quotes that stand out to me, which are also my goals. The first is “right first time”. When trying something new, do it right the first attempt and you’ll save time, energy and resources later on. The second would be “walk the talk” because it’s important to do what you say you will. It’s good for credibility, builds trust and shows that you won’t stop short of excellence.